It was not his work as translator that made Joshua Thomas famous, but his volume on Hanes y Bedyddwyr that appeared in 1778 . He had started gathering material for it in 1745 , before going to the Hay ; commenced seriously on the work in 1752 ; in 1776 he made a special journey to South Wales to complete his researches. On its appearance the volume proved that a historian of a new type had arrived: courteous, impartial, dogmatic enough upon the fundamentals of belief, slow and hesitant over details; he pondered the evidence in very delicate scales, and used many noncommittal adjectives; very open to criticism because of his frequent repetitions and many cross-references (an index to the work has still to be made). Though he cherished some beliefs about the Baptists of the Border that were obviously insecure, and gave many quotations from old manuscripts, that cannot be checked today because these have been lost, his standards were eminently judicial and scientific; he laboured assiduously to get evidence from America to substantiate theories about the beginnings of the Baptist cause in Wales ; he strove to follow the divergence between Calvinist and Arminian in the early churches, and to explain why some practised ‘strict’ communion, others ‘free.’ In 1780 he published some corrigenda of the Hanes , with several additional remarks, 18 pp. in all; in 1795 he published a History of the Welsh Association, 1650-1790 . Gradually his work as Baptist historian became known over the Border: in 1803 Samuel Palmer quotes from the Hanes in the third volume of the Nonconformist's Memorial , in 1811 Joseph Ivimey refers to the work with great respect in the first volume on the History of English Baptists . He still went on writing ; in 1791 he published a new translation of the Confession of Faith , issued by the London Assembly of 1689 ; in 1794 he translated a book by Robert Hall on the doctrine of the Trinity; before 1795 he published sharply-worded Remarks on the work of an author who had belittled the cause and mission of the Baptists . And he left behind at Leominster , in manuscript, two volumes on the story of that church and the early days of the Olchon Baptists , not to mention other important manu- scripts, that eventually found a home at the Bristol Baptist College . But his outstanding contribution as a historian was the Hanes of 1778 [today usually cited in the Welsh version ( 1885 ) by Benjamin Davies ( 1826 - 1905 ) (q.v.) of a manuscript enlargement in English , now preserved at Bristol Baptist College ]. Thomas d. 25 Aug. 1797 .
In 1796 Timothy Thomas began to keep school to teach the elements. He was not, like his father, fond of writing books, for Dr. Whitley ( Bapt. Bibliog. , ii, 23) could only come across one effort of his, and that of little importance.
Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor
Published date: 1959